The SAIC Solution

Second Edition

Dr. Beyster developed one of the first long-lasting high tech corporations with broad-based employee ownership and profit sharing and demonstrated that broad-based financial inclusion could work and prosper. His revised book teaches us that corporate governance and the role of boards requires an equivalent emphasis for employee ownership to sustain itself in a major corporation. However, Dr. Beyster’s contributions never stopped just at SAIC. He established the first endowed university chair in employee ownership, he supported the first worldwide program of competitive fellowships — the Beyster Fellowships — in the area, and his Foundation has supported annual conferences for academics for almost a decade in order to develop the field in the interdisciplinary areas of business and the social sciences of higher education. He is, has been, and will be recognized as the seminal pioneer of the study of employee ownership in higher education.

Professor Joseph Blasi
School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University

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The SAIC Solution is a valuable reminder that firms can be great by doing what is right, and offers lessons on how to do it. Boards of directors, CEOs, and shareholders: read this book.

Dr. Richard Freeman
Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics, Harvard University

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First Edition

I have known Dr. Beyster for more than four decades, and have long admired him — as a scientist, a manager, and as a person. In building SAIC, Dr. Beyster proved what I have long believed: that decentralizing decision making as much as possible can transform organizations for the better. The widespread delegation of authority practiced at SAIC — coupled with the power of employee ownership — was an unbeatable combination, and it was directly responsible for the company’s great success. This book provides a rare glimpse of the inner workings of Dr. Beyster’s highly effective business practices, and it is essential reading for anyone who hopes to build a business that makes a profit — and makes a difference.

Melvin R. Laird
U.S. Secretary of Defense (1969-73)
Counsellor to the President for Domestic Affairs (1973-74)
Nine-Term Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1952-69)
Currently serves as Senior Counsellor for National and International Affairs, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.

* * *

The SAIC story needs to be told and Robert Beyster is the one to tell it. It is a success story of technical innovation, entrepreneurship, employee ownership and great business practices.

William J. Perry
U.S. Secretary of Defense (1994-1997)

* * *

A must read for those interested in improving productivity of their employees in a global economy. Dr. Beyster truly created large scale employee ownership in the United States.

B. R. Inman
Admiral, U. S. Navy, (Ret.)

* * *

At SAIC, Dr. Beyster led a talented team of scientists and engineers in addressing some of the country’s most complex and challenging technical problems in support of national defense. These are truly amazing accomplishments, and anyone who knows the history knows that Dr. Beyster’s ideas, vision, and personal example were central to SAIC’s success. Many have tried to imitate his style and organizational strategy, but no one has succeeded with such magnitude.

Dr. Anthony J. Tether
Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

* * *

It’s not often when a brilliant scientist is also a brilliant entrepreneur. It’s even less common for this same person to have the unique skills needed to take the business they founded and preside over its continued growth for an extended period of time. Dr. Beyster is one of these rare individuals, and the company he founded and grew — SAIC — is a living testament to the validity of his sometimes counterintuitive approach to business.

Richard C. Atkinson
President Emeritus, University of California

* * *

The SAIC Solution is an inside look into the growth and dynamic culture of the America’s largest employee-owned research and engineering firm. Dr. J. Robert Beyster chronicles how his “people first” culture allowed SAIC to leverage its intellectual capital and stimulate transformative research with an empowered and elite team of scientists and engineers. The SAIC Solution is a valuable resource for prospective entrepreneurs and business leaders interested in learning the benefits of decentralized decision-making and employee ownership.

Carl J. Schramm
President, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

* * *

A fascinating account of how an outstanding nuclear physicist left a promising career as a scientist to form a unique multi-billion dollar employee owned company. Should be required reading for any potential entrepreneur contemplating a new approach to forming any successful enterprise.

Harold M. Agnew
President, General Atomics
Director, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory

* * *

The SAIC Solution is a rare and fascinating study of an employee-owned enterprise, enormously innovative, enormously successful. Once again a lesson in the power of a shared vision, the power of innovation, the power of inclusion, and the power of leadership.

Frances Hesselbein
Chairman, Leader to Leader Institute


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  • Jim Russell: Some 45 years ago in early 1972, I flew out to La Jolla and met with Dr. Beyster to decide whether to...
  • Edgar Cruz: In the 14 years I served at SAIC, I learned from people who knew Dr. Beyster personally, that employee...
  • Paul Hobin: I’ll always remember the awkward, somewhat apologetic explanations for Dr. Beyster’s low pay...
  • Steve Purcell: Well said Mr. Berg!! Dr. Beyster left a big imprint on many of us. Best to all and keep on making a...
  • Bob Berg: Like so many other thousands of people, my life was incredibly and positively changed by “Dr....